The best young adult movies and TV shows of the past decade
Young people facing supernatural forces! It’s a classic story and one that we can’t seem to get enough of. For example, Hulu ordered a ten-episode straight-to-series order for an adaptation of Zoe Arson’s young adult horror story Light as a Feather.
Following five teenage girls who become fatally targeted by supernatural forces after an innocent game of “light as a feather, stiff as a board” goes horribly wrong, the story sounds like a fresh take on young adult horror stories on screen that have been predominantly transfixed with one other unstoppable force – young (and often forbidden) love.
Regardless, there have been a lot of great young adult horror movies and TV shows in the past decade that will hopefully influence a lot more terrific young adult horror content to be made in forthcoming years.
If you ask us, the genre – which often adapts best selling YA stories about otherworldly romances and supernatural high school conflicts – doesn’t evert need to ever grow up or change; it’s perfect just how it is. Here’s our ranking of the ten best young adult horror movies and TV shows from the past ten years that we hope will inspire the next wave of YA horror content.
10. Vampire Academy (2014)
Easily the worst and most ludicrous movie on this list, there’s still something oddly enjoyable about this weird fusion between Harry Potter and Twilight focused on a high school for vamps (and half-vamps). It has the usual doomed romance plot and cast of quirky and angst characters (played by Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, and even Gabriel Byrne) but it never quite sinks its teeth into a decent plot.
9. Beautiful Creatures (2013)
With an amazing cast including Alice Englert (Ginger and Rosa), Viola Davis (Fences), Emma Thompson (Beauty and the Beast), Alden Ehrenreich (Hail Caesar!), and Jeremy Irons (Justice League), this fantasy adaptation of Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl’s best-selling books isn’t the best YA horror ever (as a recent episode of How Did This Get Made perfectly pointed out) but it’s definitely entertaining. Even if it’s for all the wrong reasons.
8. The Originals (2013 – )
This spinoff of The Vampire Diaries isn’t a patch on the salacious offerings of the OG series but there are still plenty of shocking vampire-werewolf hybrid twists and conspiratorial provocations to enjoy.
7. Fallen (2016)
Combining all the best tropes of YA horror romance, Fallen sees a tortured young woman discovering that her equally tortured reform school crush also happens to be an angel who has secretly loved her for thousands of years. Old creatures with young bodies! Brooding romance! Impossible love affairs! Scott Hicks’s drama (starring Lola Kirke & Addison Timlin) has it all.
6. Warm Bodies (2013)
Think of it as the lite version of Bruce LaBruce’s gornographic gay zombie romance Otto starring Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road) as a cute young undead bro who falls in love with a human (Teresa Palmer). As YA romances go, it’s as warm and squishy as a fresh corpse’s insides.
5. Goosebumps (2015)
Rob Letterman’s irreverent meta-comedy sees Jack Black (School of Rock) depicting a larger than life version of iconic Goosebumps author R.L. Stine tasked with recovering all the monsters that have been unleashed from his books by his fanatical neighbour (Dylan Minnette). The film is more than just a cash grab of a beloved book series, full of knowing fun and shrewd scares.
4. Riverdale (2016 – )
Riverdale is a straight-up, thick blended milkshake of genres, but it still consistently features horror at the heart of it. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s dark twist on Archie Comics has featured plenty of killers and killings alongside a cast full of horror icons like Skeet Ulrich (Scream) and Tony Todd (The Crow).
Plus with K.J. Apa (A Dog’s Purpose), Lili Reinhart (The Good Neighbour), Camila Mendes (The New Romantic), and Cole Sprouse (Big Daddy) at the forefront, the show continues to uphold the horror tradition of an impossibly beautiful cast leading the often bloodsoaked story.
3. Teen Wolf (2011 – 2017)
In which a pack of buff young men (like Tyler Posey & Dylan O’Brien) consistently run around with no tops on, turn into werewolves, and indulge in some terrific high school horror drama and surprisingly homoerotic japes.
2. The Vampire Diaries (2009 – 2017)
Featuring a cornucopia of horny vampires and mortals all swooning and slaughtering in various capacities, Nina Dobrev (The Final Girls), Paul Wesley (Before I Disappear), and Ian Somerhalder (Pulse) lead this impossibly addictive YA horror series we secretly wish was as immortal as a teenage bloodguzzler.
1. Twilight (2008)
Everyone likes to shit on Twilight for its sparkling vampires and lusty teen angst but Catherine Hardwicke’s adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s YA hit novel is full of charm and otherworldly thirst. Robert Pattinson (Good Time) and Kristen Stewart’s (Snow White and the Huntsman) chemistry has some serious bite, while a strong supporting cast including Billy Burke (Fracture) & Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect 3) give the film some great comedic beats.